2024 LS polls: Annamalai downplays role of booth-level committees

He pointed out Annamalai, in a recent programme, said that five members were enough instead of having 20 to 25 in a booth committee, who do not speak about the policy and ideology of the party.
K Annamalai
K AnnamalaiFile

CHENNAI: With the 2024 Lok Sabha polls less than 18 months away, the BJP's Tamil Nadu is seen to be in a fix over the booth-level committees that are a crucial structure for political parties during elections. State president K Annamalai’s recent remark that the party would adopt an effective strategy to reach out voters instead of depending on booth committees has left many senior leaders in a state of confusion. They echoed that it would undo their efforts to build and strengthen the booth level committees that were crucial in election works.

The party has improved its performance in the urban local body polls held early in the year, garnering little over 5% vote share in the urban local body polls. It fielded candidates in 5,594 seats out of 12,838 and won 308 seats, including 200 seats in Kanniyakumari district.

“To keep the momentum going and gain on the opposition parties, we need a strong base and presence in every street and every village on par with DMK and AIADMK. For that, we want to established booth level committees to reach out to voters. But the state president’s remark is not convincing,” said a senior party functionary who is privy to the developments.

He pointed out Annamalai, in a recent programme, said that five members were enough instead of having 20 to 25 in a booth committee, who do not speak about the policy and ideology of the party.

Annamalai, pointing out the Illam Selvom Ullam Velvom programme, said the party would appoint one person for 25 families. They would remain connected to the families and he can articulate on NEP and Centre’s policies.

“It is better to avoid such statements that will demoralise the booth level committee members, who are the foot soldiers of any party,” said a state level functionary.

Recalling a validation of booth level committees carried out by the party a year ago, he said that they found the party had booth level committees in around 15% booths out of 67,000 booths (then).

“Everyone has a defined role. We have seen how the AIADMK and DMK members work and how they translate the votes of the supporters into votes,” he further said.

Defending Annamalai’s statement, A P Muruganandam, state general secretary, said the party has been taking a lot of effort to boost the booth level committee structure. “Next to AIADMK and DMK, we are the only party having booth committees across the State. We are upscaling them. What our state president is about is the party’s next phase of activities to remain connected with families in their respective area,” he said.

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